Since it's Thanksgiving time I'm going to take this opportunity to be a little sappy and tell you how thankful I am to be part of the Chicago Writers Association.

I met Randy Richardson, CWA president, in 2012 at a romance writers conference. No, neither of us writes romance. The conference was called something innocuous like ABC Writers Conference, so we had no idea. Since we were the only ones there without big hair and ruffles, we gravitated toward each other and have been friends ever since.

After that I joined CWA and now have been on the board of directors for six or seven years, and have been the director of our conference since 2018.

Being part of this organization has been a highlight of my life. Here's what I'm thankful for:

  • Randy Richardson, an original founder nearly 20 years ago. Indefatigable leader for most of that time, except for a brief, unfortunate period, which I won't go into, when he thought handing the reins to someone else was a good idea. It wasn't.
    Randy leads the organization with integrity, kindness, generosity and an open heart. 

  • My fellow board members, Dan Burns, Sandy Colbert, Marcie Hill, Rick Kaempfer, Jessica Mack, Charlie Monte Verde, Kristin Oakley, Christina Rodriguez, Shawn Shiflett, Laurie Scheer and  Maggie Smith, who are all volunteers and who give their time unselfishly to support the writing community. They are smart, open-minded, creative, collaborative and fun.
    Buy their books, you won't be sorry. And when you see them at the conference next March, introduce yourself; ask their advice, pick their brains; they have so much to offer and are passionate about helping.

  • Finally, I'm grateful for YOU, the members of CWA. I have met so many wonderful people over these years and made so many friends. I am always impressed by how supportive writers are of each other.
    We appreciate your feedback, both positive and negative; especially when the latter is offered with tact.
    I'm proud and grateful to be part of this community. 

I hope you have much to be thankful for during this holiday season. Wishing you all the best. Keep writing!

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